GOP Leaders Not on Same Page

So far, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have come out in support of the President’s proposed Syria missile strike, but Senate  Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, dealing with a Tea Party challenge in his re-election campaign, has not.

McConnell is obviously afraid of straying from Rand Paul.  I think we know who is really the senior senator from Kentucky!

House Republicans Are Revolting

Yes, aren’t they?

GOP House members are furious that the Senate deal has tax increases, but no spending cuts.

According to the NYT*, Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he won’t vote for the deal.  It’s bad for Boehner if his #2 guy won’t support it.

Spencer Bachus of Alabama expects the bill to be amended and go back to the Senate, which would effectively kill it for this Congress, which ends Thursday at noon.

So will they stand and fight now or live to fight another day over the debt ceiling and the postponed sequester?

*  “G.O.P. Anger Over Tax Deal Endangers Final Passage,” Jennifer Steinhauer, and Jonathan Weisman

Quote of the Day

“I feel almost sorry for John Boehner.  There is incredible pressure on him from a base of his party that is unreasonable about this. And he’s got to decide, is his speakership more important, or is the country more important.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

I don’t feel the least bit sorry for the Orange One.  He’s coddled and encouraged his crazies.   And it doesn’t matter what he decides because he still needs to get the votes to pass something in the House.  Partisan politics aside, he’s really been a weak and ineffective Speaker, the wrong guy for the job.  I know Eric Cantor agrees with me, but I don’t agree with Cantor that he should have the job.

Whistle-Blower Revealed

We know now that the FBI whistle-blower in the Petraeus case is a friend of Jill Kelley, whom she contacted about the disturbing emails she received from Paula Broadwell.

He became “obsessed” with the case and was barred from any involvement with it, although he was not directly involved in the investigation, which had been turned over to cyber crimes.  Worried that nothing would come of the investigation, he went to GOP Congressman David Reichert, who went to Eric Cantor.
The whistle-blower himself has been investigated for sending shirtless pictures of himself to Jill Kelley at some point before the Petraeus investigation.

 

 

 

 

Did Mitt Know But Not Obama?

It seems as if but for the FBI whistle-blower who went to GOP Congressman Dave Reichert, who in turn went to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, David Petraeus might still be Director of the CIA.

The story raises questions not just of who knew what when, but who didnt know and who should have known, of why choices were made to tell certain people, but not others.

Why did Reichert go to Cantor and not Speaker of the House John Boehner?  Why didn’t Cantor go to his boss Boehner and/or the intelligence committee?

Cantor says that he didn’t tell anyone other than FBI Director Mueller.  Of course, Mueller already knew, but now he had to deal with the fact that the super-ambitious Cantor — who wishes neither Boehner nor Obama well — also knew and could speak publicly at any time.

But did Cantor tell anyone at Mitt’s campaign?  Could it be that Mitt knew before Obama did?  And given that Eric Holder knew last summer, is it possible that no one at the White House knew?  Did the knowledge go up from Mueller to Holder and stop there?

GOP officials and conservative media have been questioning the timing of the release right after the election and right before Petraeus was to testify to Congress about Benghazi.

Release before the election wouldn’t have helped Mitt, it would have just taken more attention away from Mitt’s campaign.  Petraeus was popular among Republicans, so a scandal involving him wouldn’t have tainted Obama, the way a scandal involving a more equivocal figure, say Eric Holder, would have.

As for Benghazi, there’s no reason Petraeus can’t still testify, and I expect he will, just not this week.

The story also raises questions of when a whistle-blower is truly a whistle-blower and when he or she is just being insubordinate and “going rogue” by refusing to accept a superior’s reasonable judgment.   I’m not sure that this person uncovered any corruption or criminal activity that justified going outside normal channels to Cantor.

I think the FBI had concluded that Petraeus hadn’t breached national security and hadn’t committed any crime, so they were going to leave him alone.  Enter the whistle-blower and Eric Cantor.

Did GOP Force Out Petraeus?

Still a lot more questions than answers on the Petraeus “affair” in both the personal and political sense, but it looks as if he may have been forced out because of the GOP.  That’s interesting because the GOP claims that the timing of his resignation is suspicious, given the Benghazi hearing later this week.

They can’t both instigate his resignation and accuse the Administration of trying to keep him from testifying.  Well, of course, they can, since they’re the GOP, and this is how they roll, with no concern for coherence, but we saw how much good such tactics did Mitt.

As for the GOP being behind his firing, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office admits that Cantor learned about the FBI investigation that had ensnared Petraeus from GOP Congressman Dave Reichert of Washington.  An FBI whistle-blower had contacted Reichert.  The whistle-blower then talked to Cantor, who got him directly to FBI Director Robert Mueller.

I’m inferring that the FBI investigation had uncovered the affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, but no security breach or criminal activity involving Petraeus, and so was not going to notify the CIA or Congress or the White House.  It sounds as if the whistle-blower disagreed with this result and, bucking his superiors, went to Congress himself.  Once Reichert and Cantor got involved, Mueller couldn’t let it lie, setting off the chain of events that led to Petraeus’ resignation.

So the GOP claim that Obama wanted to make Petraeus go away because of Benghazi is BS.  And I believe Petraeus will end up testifying anyway, just not this Thursday.

2014

Both House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are refusing to commit to pushing Paul Ryan’s Medicare “voucher” plan if the GOP wins the White House and control of Congress.*  Boehner said, “I’m sure there will be other ideas about how you save Medicare…”

While some of this is just to avoid scaring people away from Mitt before the election, I think some of it is a recognition that even if they win in November, they have to avoid over-reaching.  Otherwise, they could lose what they won in the Congress — and then some — in 2014.

But if Boehner and McConnell don’t follow the will of the Tea Party wing — those who arrived from the 2010 election and may arrive from 2012 — they could well find themselves replaced as leaders, especially Boehner, who sees the lean and hungry Eric Cantor at his heels every time he turns around.

If cooler heads don’t prevail in Congress, cooler voters will in 2014.

* “GOP leaders are not sold on Ryan’s trumpeted Medicare plan,” Susan Davis, USA Today.

Cantor Coddles Crazies

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) desperately wants John Boehner’s job as Speaker of the House.  He is pure ambition, with no concern for truth, fairness, or decency.  To further his ambition, he’s all too happy to coddle the many crazy members of his caucus, like Michele Bachmann.

Boehner criticized Bachmann’s absurd accusations that Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin is secretly working for the Muslim Brotherhood, calling those accusations “pretty dangerous” and saying that Abedin “has a sterling character.”

But Cantor?  Asked by Charlie Rose what he thought about the Bachmann/Abedin shamefulness, Cantor took the coward’s way out, choosing popularity over patriotism, saying, “I think that her concern was about the security of the country.”

Cantor is unfit ever to be Speaker of the House, he shouldn’t be Majority Leader, and he shouldn’t even be a congressman.

 

Sheldon Adelson Has a Super PAC

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s YG Action Super PAC raised $5.3 million last quarter.  YG stands for “Young Guns,” but $5 million of that came from a rather Old Gun, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino billionaire who financed Newtie’s presidential run.

Doesn’t that really make it Adelson’s Super PAC rather than Cantor’s?

If you look in the dictionary under “lean and hungry look,” there’s a grinning picture of Cantor.  I bet John Boehner has a food taster.

 

 

The Fight Fox Wanted

From “Fast and Furious:  How President Obama and John Boehner got to the brink,” Josh Gerstein and Jake Sherman, Politico:

“For Obama, the political costs of the executive privilege showdown are obvious:  In an election year, there’s little upside to him being tied more closely to a failed gun-smuggling investigation that may have led to the death of at least one U. S. law enforcement agent and hundreds of killings in Mexico.  The executive privilege claim also undercuts his promises to run the most transparent administration in history and could open him to claims of hypocrisy and coverup.

“For Boehner, an unprecedented floor vote to hold an attorney general in contempt threatens to undermine the GOP’s promise to keep a laserlike focus on the economy and Republicans’ determined effort to hammer away at what they view as Obama’s inability to fix the country’s economic ills.  Headlines about the investigations could remind some voters of the 1990′s, when a flurry of probes the Republicans launched of the Clinton administration boomeranged on congressional inquisitors.

“Boehner, Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy also began to feel extraordinary pressure from their membership, chiefly Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who both serve on the Judiciary Committee and Issa’s panel.  There were also more than 100 members who signed onto a resolution expressing no confidence in Holder.

‘White House officials insist there’s nothing in the records that would do any real damage, beyond perhaps revealing some emails with intemperate language about Issa’s investigation.

Some administration officials believe that Issa and Boehner were essentially forced into the contempt vote because intense coverage of the probe on Fox News and by conservative online news outlets fed expectations in the Republican base that heads would roll and a smoking-gun memo would surface.

“‘They’ve created their own problem because they made so many outrageous statements and created expectations that something big is going to happen,’ said Matt Miller, a former Justice Department spokesman involved in the initial response to Congress.   ‘The Republican leadership in the House has known for a long time that this is a fight they didn’t want to have but were going to be force by their base to have.’”  Emphasis added.

I really believe this is going to bite the GOP in Congress, and by extension Romney, on the tush and not hurt Obama.